This is week 13 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.
Spring Willow is worked in Anzula Squishy, a superwash merino, cashmere and nylon fingering weight yarn.
Double-knit lace is something that I dabbled with briefly while I was working on my first book, but never developed into a full pattern. It was relegated to the appendix along with a bunch of other techniques with similar histories. Several of these were pulled out of retirement later but lace spent a little longer on the bench while I was focusing on other things. Similar to Heartbound, which came out later, I needed a pattern to illustrate techniques I was beginning to offer in workshops, so that people would have a chance to try some double-knit lace in an actual pattern. To be honest, it had not gone unnoticed that there were some other innovators who had, whether with my book’s help or not, begun to play with double-knit lace and publish patterns using it. I was excited to see this, but also galvanized to release my own pattern to capitalize on the apparent interest of the knitting community. Besides, my design sense and style are uniquely my own and often recognizable to others — and the same goes for my double-knit lace when compared to others’ designs. Not only do I have a method to do it, I have 5 variations that all have unique properties. Of course, I do have a preferred method which is the one I’m using here. This lace pattern is subtly modified from something in a Barbara Walker treasury, then further modified to work in the round.
Superwash merino, cashmere and silk — it’s become such a common luxury blend that it even has its own acronym: MCS. I met the folks behind Anzula, a luxury yarn company from California, at a trade show where direct sales aren’t allowed — but where yarn companies and designers network on the side. Anzula came to the show with suitcases full of yarn to entice designers, and I got to sit and fondle the skeins for quite some time before I settled on the MCS base they called “Dreamy” in a particularly unlikely pairing of colors. This was well before I had a plan on what to do with them. When I began casting about for yarn for this pattern, I started in my stash and decided to try this yarn. Because the pattern takes advantage of larger color areas and single columns of stitches, I was able to get away with a slightly lower-contrast color combo. When I showed Anzula this pattern, they decided they wanted one for their trunk show but were out of Dreamy; instead, they asked me to substitute “Squishy” which mostly just replaces the silk with nylon. I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. I’m not even sure which one I have and which one travels with Anzula now.
Normally, I shy away from naming my pieces after the colors I choose — I don’t want to lock others’ minds into that particular groove. I want people to feel free to experiment with colorways, and sometimes referring to a pattern as “Red Sweater #45” is going to unfairly bias people against knitting the pattern in blue yarn. But in this case the temptation was too great; I thought of the pattern as “Spring Willow” due to the new-growth tan and green colors it’s done in, and the name stuck. It fits because of the hanging ripply columns and the openwork between, and the colorways just sort of help the image, if you want them to.